Microsoft Windows

Isolating Windows for testing apps with Windows Sandbox

So what is Windows Sandbox?

The very short version to the story is, it is a simplified version of HyperV that comes bundled with Windows 10 Pro, where Pro users can install supported operating systems virtually for testing new Windows builds, testing apps, development or for any other purpose.

Windows Sandbox is meant for above use but without the hassle of any configuration or installing Windows 10 operating system.

Windows Sandbox acts as an application found under Start menu. Where if you click it; it fires ups pre-installed/ready to use Windows 10 operating system environment. The major differences between the freedom of HyperV and Sandbox is the choice of operating system one wants to install and test. And a virtual machine (HyperV) has a save state. Meaning whatever you do in the virtual machine gets saved and can be accessed at a later point in time.

With Windows Sandbox- the feature which is coming in the upcoming Windows 10 version in the first quarter of 2019, once you close the Windows Sandbox application, your session ends hence everything you did gets erased.

As the name suggests, Windows Sandbox operates in isolation from rest of the operating system, which makes this environment secure. So whatever you do within this temporary environment, including running an infected file or app, will not affect any part of the host operating system.

As per the notes found in the blog post, Windows Sandbox has the following properties:

  • Part of Windows: Everything required for this feature ships with Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise. No need to download a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)
  • Pristine: Every time Windows Sandbox runs, it’s as clean as a brand new installation of Windows
  • Disposable: Nothing persists on the device; everything is discarded after you close the application
  • Secure: Uses hardware based virtualization for kernel isoliation, which relies on the Microsoft’s hypervisor to run a separate kerner which isolates Windows Sandbox from the host
  • Efficient: Uses integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management and virtual GPU

The following are the prerequisites to run the app:

  • Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise build 18305 or later
  • AMD64 architecture
  • Virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS
  • At least 4GB of RAM (8 is recommended)
  • At least 1GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)
  • At least 2 CPU cores (4 cores recommended)

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